Between 1830 and 1850, about 100,000 American Indians living between Michigan, Louisiana, and Florida moved west after the U.S. government coerced treaties or used the U.S. Army against those resisting. Many were treated brutally. An estimated 3,500 Creeks died in Alabama and on their westward journey.
The overall effect of the Creek trail of tears was staggering: 8,000 people apparently had died” (“Muscogee (Creek) Removal,” n.d.).
The strategy was successful. The final battle at Horseshoe Bend resulted in the total defeat of the Creek Nation. Subsequently, General Andrew Jackson forced the surviving Creeks to sign the Treaty of Fort Jackson in 1814, ceding much of their ancestral homelands to the U.S. government.
With the first wave in 1831, Choctaws were the first tribe to cover the Trail of Tears, so named because of the suffering and loss of life on the march.
In 1838 and 1839, as part of Andrew Jackson’s Indian removal policy, the Cherokee nation was forced to give up its lands east of the Mississippi River and to migrate to an area in present-day Oklahoma. The Cherokee people called this journey the “Trail of Tears,” because of its devastating effects.
The Trail of Tears The Indian-removal process continued. In 1836, the federal government drove the Creeks from their land for the last time: 3,500 of the 15,000 Creeks who set out for Oklahoma did not survive the trip. By 1838, only about 2,000 Cherokees had left their Georgia homeland for Indian Territory.
Today, the Muscogee (Creek) Nation is located in Oklahoma and has land claims in the Florida panhandle. The Tribal headquarters is located in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, and the tribe has approximately 44,000 tribal members.
McIntosh Inn In 1825 McIntosh signed the Treaty of Indian Springs with the U.S. government at the hotel; he was murdered three months later by angry Creeks who considered the agreement a betrayal.
The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek in 1830 marked the final cession of lands and outlined the terms of Choctaw removal to the west. Indeed, the Choctaw Nation was the first American Indian tribe to be removed by the federal government from its ancestral home to land set aside for them in what is now Oklahoma.
Numbers tend to vary wildly, but it is thought that, between 1830 and 1834, about 12,500 Choctaw embarked on the Trail of Tears, of whom between 1,500 and 4,000 died along the way.
The Choctaw are part of the Muskhogean linguistic family which includes Creek, Chickasaw, Seminole, Apalachi, and other smaller groups. There are currently more than 9,100 enrolled members of the Mississippi Choctaw.